This may surprise you, but there is a very long history between the game of golf and African Americans. There is a lot of debate over who started the ancient game of golf, though most will say the modern game's origin dates back to 1500s Scottland. One thing is for sure since it arrived, it has been played on every corner of the globe.

Nowhere has the game under more imposing odds ' than with the African-Americans solely because of racism. African American slaves were caddies for their slave masters and took up the game in large numbers for that reason. So, it's not surprising that the Golf Tee was invented by an African American. Dr. George F. Grant, a dentist by trade, was an avid golfer taking up the game after the Civil War.

Dr. Grant was born on September 15, 1846, in Oswego, New York. He attended the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1868 and graduated in 1870. The doctor specialized in treating patients with congenital cleft palates and even created a prosthetic device to help with everyday speech. He became the first African-American Professor to teach at Harvard in 1871. He taught in the Mechanical Dentistry Dept. for 19 years.

Dr. Grant was not only a founding member and president of the Harvard Odontological Society, but he also served as president of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association. The dentist, Professor, and inventor was a jack of all trades and an entrepreneur with several patents, including Cutting Sheers and the Hackle for the Fish Fly.

On December 12, 1899, he received the world's first U.S. patent (No. 638,920) for a golf tee. It was the first American Wooden Golf Tee with a flexible rubber peg for the ball. Amazingly Dr. Grant never tried to market and sell his invention, and because of this, no one knew the tee was his design. Incredibly he never reaped the benefits of his invention. Instead, he made them in his shop in Arlington Heights and gave them to his friends and playing partners.

Dr. Grant died of liver disease in 1910 at his vacation home in Chester, New Hampshire. He was 63. His invention was left for others to profit from. In 1991 the USGA would later give the doctor credit for his design, acknowledging he was the original inventor of the wooden golf tee.


John J. Shippen, Jr., Joe Bartholomew, Bill Spiller, Ted Rhodes, Charlie Sifford, Joe Lewis, Charlie Sifford, Pete Brown, Lee Elder, Calvin Peete, Jim Dent, Althea Gibson, Renee Powell, Jim Thorpe, Walter Morgan, LaRee Pearl Sugg, Bobby Stroble, and Tiger Woods, just to name a few.

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